University grads have the skills to succeed. Now where are the jobs?


Getting the right skills for the job market is a hot topic these days. What skills are employers looking for? Are students prepared for the workforce? These questions are being discussed on university campuses, debated in national newspapers, and considered by policy-makers across jurisdictions. In a challenging labour market, it’s really no surprise that this […]


OCUFA and the University Funding Model review


OCUFA has taken a principled approach to its engagement with Ontario’s review of the university funding formula. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) has been, and continues to be, an active participant in the Government of Ontario’s review of the university funding formula. The funding model is absolutely foundational to the quality and […]


Reviewing Ontario’s university funding


The rationale for reviewing and reforming the way we fund universities. I hesitated when the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) asked if I would write an article on the University Funding Model Review for Academic Matters. The hesitation had to do with timing. I knew there would be a gap between submitting the […]


Book Launch: A Penny for Your Thoughts


A new book on the impact of corporatization on Canada’s universities was launched on June 4 in Ottawa by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In A Penny For Your Thoughts, authors Janice Newson and Claire Polster document how the transformation of postsecondary education over the last 35 years has been driven by corporatization. The […]

Performance funding: The burden of proof


When a policy is proposed, the burden of proof lies with the people making the proposal. They need to explain why the new policy is better, and they need to provide evidence to support their claim. This is how sensible policy gets made. The Government of Ontario is interested in performance funding for universities. That […]

Into the program prioritization debate


Last week, we published an article by Leo Groarke and Beverley Hamilton on program prioritization. For the uninitiated, program prioritization is a process – now much in vogue at Ontario’s universities – for ranking academic and non-academic programs for the purposes of directing resources. Some have called it a “rank n’ yank” process, where programs […]

Doing the PPP: A skeptical perspective


So-called “program prioritization processes” have been a hot topic at American and Ontario universities. But as Leo Groarke and Beverley Hamilton argue, the cost of PPP is much higher than many administrators realize.

Humour Matters: The long, slow bus ride to the future


All this talk of innovation, transformation, and inspiration has got me thinking of bus rides. Universities today swim in a sea of overwrought rhetoric. They trumpet their patents, their entrepreneurship, their empowering humanities research; they build transformative community synergies and interdisciplinary partnerships; they link up with business and government to produce ground-breaking research. And it’s […]

Where have all the academics gone?


Writing in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Lawrence Martin observes that Canada’s academic are “missing in action”. That is, almost totally silent on the critical issues facing the country- everything from the “declining state of our parliamentary democracy” to the tepid response to the Federal Government’s muzzling of federal scientists and starvation of key research institutions (for […]

The perils of California Dreamin’ in higher education


Writing in the National Post, Ian Clark argues that emulating California’s higher education system will increase the productivity and efficiency of Ontario’s universities. No doubt, this is an idea that will appeal to some, but the rest of us should be cautious in accepting his conclusions. Clark, along with David Trick and Richard Van Loon, […]

The Quiet Campus: The Anatomy of Dissent at Canadian Universities


The remarkable—a word that can be read in many different ways—2012 student protests in Quebec have stirred memories of the activist campuses of yesteryear. For faculty members introduced to the academy in the era of student activism, anti-Vietnam War protests, and general social unrest, the recent quietude of the Canadian university system has been disturbing. […]

The Myth of the Academic Generation Gap: Comparing Junior and Senior Faculty in Canada’s Universities


It is commonly assumed that junior (pre-tenure) professors work much harder and have lower levels of job satisfaction than their more senior (tenured) peers. A new study of Canadian university faculty, titled ‘Academic Work in Canada: the Perceptions of Early-Career Academics’ and published in Higher Education Quarterly (Jones, Weinrib, Metcalfe, Fisher, Rubens0n & Snee, 2012, […]